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I See You

The latest tactical video systems offer sophisticated imaging capabilities in lightweight, portable packages.

August 01, 2003  |  by Dave Douglas

Search Systems

Search Systems’ Searchcam 2000 IR features a video camera head with infrared illumination. It can be inserted into openings as small as 1.75 inches.

Search Systems makes a variety of portable video systems that are used in law enforcement applications, but its two primary police products are the Searchcam 2000 IR and the Searchcam Patrol System.

The Searchcam 2000 IR is an extremely sophisticated pole-mounted audio and video system designed for use by police and military tactical teams. Its features include a high-resolution video camera head with non-visible infrared illumination, a telescoping probe that can be inserted into a 1.75-inch opening, a pole that extends to 92 inches and collapses to 41 inches, a 5-inch LCD monitor, and a sensitive microphone that can detect whispers in the same room and breathing sounds from a few feet. A heads-up display is available as an option.

Lighter and smaller than the Searchcam 2000 IR, the Searchcam Patrol System is designed for use by patrol officers. Like the more sophisticated Searchcam 2000 IR, the Patrol System features a black-and-white video camera with infrared illumination, an articulating probe head, and a detachable LCD video display. However, the Patrol System is video only and its probe only extends to 66 inches. Because it is smaller, collapsing to 31 inches, the Patrol System fits easily in the trunk of a standard patrol car.

Smith & Wesson

Smith & Wesson’s Tactical Vision is an extremely versatile tactical system that can even be used under water.

Smith and Wesson is one of the best known names in Law Enforcement. Of course, you know that. But what you might not know is that the maker of police pistols, knives, handcuffs, and bicycles produces a tactical video system called Tactical Vision.

The Tactical Vision system consists of a telescoping, 12-foot, nonconducting probe with foam grips, a pivoting camera head, and a shaded 3.5-inch LCD monitor. If you have a need to videotape the image or attach a second monitor, an RCA jack provides that access.

One of the more interesting features of Tactical Vision is its battery compartment design. The system employs a unique slide-through battery system that allows battery exchange without losing power for those critical times that you need to keep capturing an image but are running low on power.

Another great feature of Tactical Vision is that it comes with its own light source. If you are dealing with a poorly lit location (as we usually are), Tactical Vision’s built in LED light array on the camera head will illuminate the subject. If a low-key presence is required, an infrared version is available that will allow you to see more than 30 feet in total darkness.

S&W’s Tactical Vision is designed to be compact and easy to handle. When disassembled and stowed, it easily fits into the trunk of a vehicle.

Tactical Electronics

Tacital Electronics makes a variety of tactical video tools for police and military applications. Its under door camera has a .265-inch insertion panel, so it can be slid into a room without drawing the attention of the occupants.

Tactical Electronics produces equipment for tactical operators and only tactical operators. The company does not sell its products to the general public or to industrial clients. Its sole focus is producing equipment for military and law enforcement applications, and it makes some really great tools.

Take, for example, the Tactical Electronics PCSS1 Wireless Pole Camera Search System. This system operates in both encrypted and non-encrypted modes, it’s modular, and it features a pole that can be extended from 23 inches to 8 feet. The pole is manageable at such lengths because there are no battery belt packs or external cables to entangle the operator.

Applications for Tactical Electronics’ video systems are numerous. The camera heads are waterproof to 30 feet and very well suited to marine work. Fiber scopes are available for bomb tech applications. And the company makes a wireless camera system with a .265-inch thick insertion panel that can be placed under a door in such a way that the occupants of the room can’t see it. The system includes a very wide field-of-view camera that yields a high-quality image in little- or no- light environments.

Four display options are available for Tactical Electronics’ systems. The company can custom mount monitors in a vehicle to outfit it as a mobile command post. The portable systems come equipped with a built-in 5.5-inch LCD monitor. In addition, a headset is available that gives the wearer an almost big screen look at what the camera is seeing. Finally, Tactical Electronics can provide the tactical operator with the very latest in SWAT jewelry, a wrist-wearable monitor. The wrist monitor has a 2.5-inch, high-resolution screen and a built-in receiver that requires no external wires, cables, or antennae.


Modular Zistos video systems are ideal for tactical operations, contraband interdiction, and anti-terrorism inspections.

Zistos Corp. offers a full line of portable video systems. The Zistos WPD-15 display, Flex ‘n’ Stay Camera Systems are one-man portable CCTV systems consisting of a 15-inch LCD display, a unique Flex ‘n’ Stay body for remote viewing, and a small self-illuminating video camera that can be mounted on either a telescoping pole, wand, baton, or flexible coil. Each portable system can be configured with interchangeable pole and coil bodies, camera heads, or other options. Zistos also offers a walk-about system with a 4-inch screen.

The Zistos portable video systems are also modular, and they give the operators a wide range of choices. Zistos sells self-illuminating surveillance cameras and a choice of five different submersible cameras that also provide their own lighting by using LEDs arrayed in a ring around the lens. Whatever your department’s needs are for portable tactical video, there are systems available that can be customized to meet them. They range from small handheld units to modular wireless systems that can handle a whole range of duties. One thing is for sure. They can save lives.

For More Information


DTC Communications

Instrument Technology Inc.

Search Systems

Smith and Wesson Tactical Vision

Tactical Electronics

Zistos Corporation

Sgt. Dave Douglas is a 25-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department amd a Police magazine contributing editor.

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